THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
August 19, 2014
Guest: Antonio French, Anthony Gray, Patricia Bynes
CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: It`s calm and peaceful here, as sun is
setting in Ferguson, Missouri.
And that does it for "ALL IN", this edition, live from Ferguson,
Missouri. We`ll be back in a few hours.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Great work tonight,
man. Well done.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
It is another night, in which there is a lot of news in the world.
There`s news out of Iraq. Tonight actually, some very scary news and sad
news out of Iraq tonight.
In Texas, Republican Governor Rick Perry got his mug shot taken today,
after he was indicted on two felony counts on Friday. Hello, governor.
There are two U.S. Senate primaries in two states tonight, in Alaska
and in Wyoming. There are Senate primaries. There`s a lot going on in the
But once again tonight, the biggest story in the country remains
Ferguson, Missouri. This is a live shot of downtown Ferguson right now.
It`s twilight, basically. The sun is just setting.
It has been a volatile situation in Ferguson for the last 10 days
since the shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer last
Tonight, I have to say, although it is peaceful on the streets right
now, tonight is a particularly uncertain evening in terms of how the
evening is going to unfold because in part -- in part that uncertainty is
because today, just after noontime locally, only about four miles from the
spot where Michael Brown was killed last weekend, two police officers,
again today, killed a young African-American man in the St. Louis area.
This time, it happened in St. Louis City, north St. Louis. Two
officers who reportedly fired shots at the young man in this case, they
were from the St. Louis municipal police department. So, city police.
It`s not the same police force involved in the Michael Brown shooting or in
the police response to the Michael Brown protests in Ferguson.
But in this incident today, again, took place about four miles from
where Michael Brown was killed, the young man that was killed today was
said to have been 23 years old. He has not been formally identified by the
police. Police said that he was armed when police killed him. They said
he was armed with a knife, and, in fact, brandishing a knife and that`s why
these two police officers shot him and killed him in the street.
The shooting reportedly happened at 12:20 p.m. local time. That would
be 1:20 East Coast time. Less than 90 minutes after the shooting happened,
the chief of the St. Louis City police was on the scene of that shooting to
give a statement about what had happened -- the police chief basically
there immediately after the shooting.
And just as immediately, he was surrounded by local residents who were
demanding answers about there being yet another shooting of yet another
black man basically in the same area. And those residents also expressed
their anger about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF SAM DOTSON, ST. LOUIS CITY POLICE: Thank you, everybody. This
afternoon, at about 12:20, officers dispatched to this location for a call
of a disturbance. A gentleman entered a convenience store nearby, walked
out carrying two energy drinks. When he was asked to stop, he walked out
and the store owners let him walk out.
A few minutes later, he came back into the storefront, took what was
described as a package of muffins, pastries. The store owner walked out
with him, asked, hey, could you please pay for those before you leave? The
suspect tossed them into the street then continued walking.
They contacted police for the disturbance, and officers were
dispatched. The suspect, who right now is described as a 23-year-old
African-American, was acting erratically walking back and forth up and down
As officers arrived, the suspect turned towards the officers and
started to walk toward them, clutching his waistband. He then pulled out a
knife and what we described as an overhand grip and told the officer,
"Shoot me now, kill me now."
When the suspect displayed his knife, they drew their weapons. The
officers are giving the suspect verbal commands: stop, drop the knife,
stop, drop the knife.
Suspect moved towards the passenger, the police officer that was in
the passenger seat of the vehicle at which time he came within three to
four feet of the officers. The officers shot, both officers fired their
weapons, striking the suspect. And the suspect is deceased.
REPORTER: Do your men have tasers?
DOTSON: Our men are -- some officers are armed with tasers. That is
REPORTER: With what`s happening in Ferguson, are you not -- did you
not tell your men to exercise utmost caution? Are you not concerned this
is going to make things even anymore?
DOTSON: That`s a great question. I think officer safety is the
number one issue. So, if you`re the family of a police officer and
somebody approaches you within three feet within a knife, I think you have
the right to defend yourself and protect yourself.
So, I think it certainly is reasonable that an officer has an
expectation to go home at the end of the night.
I think we can all understand what`s going on in Ferguson, but I think
every police officer out here has the right to defend themselves and the
community as quickly as possible. That`s what we`re trying to do.
REPORTER: Chief, we`re already starting to hear people yelling. Are
you guys concerned about this?
DOTSON: Concerned isn`t the right word. I think it`s important
people understand what happened. So, we`re going to get that message out
as quickly as we can, through as many sources as we can.
RPEORTER: Did one officer fire or multiple officers fire?
DOTSON: Both officers fired their weapons.
REPORTER: What is their disposition now? What happened with them?
DOTSON: Right now, we have an investigation that goes on. The
officers will not be on the street. They`ll be on administrative duty,
until we can determine the facts if they are different than I have
described, but I`ve talked to several people that witnessed this today here
on the scene.
REPORTER: I heard the phrase "suicide by cop." Was this that?
DOTSON: Certainly, one of the witnesses described it as a suicide by
cop. I didn`t describe it that way, but I have heard that used, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: As the St. Louis City police chief speaking today after yet
another young African-American man was killed by police in the St. Louis
In this shooting today, again, it was two officers from the St. Louis
City police department, and the young man who they killed was said by
police to be armed with a knife in this incident. Police also said they
recovered a knife at the scene.
Now, local residents told reporters today that the young man who was
killed was well known in the community, but, again, he has no been formally
identified. After the police chief spoke today, which sort of ended up
being as much to local residents as it was to the press, local St. Louis
Alderman Antonio French who you`ll recognize here in the foreground, he
spoke to the same crowd that the police chief had just spoken to, and the
crowd did seem to be at least somewhat agitated and upset about the chief`s
announcement about the killing.
Antonio French basically tried to talk the crowd down. This was a
remarkable scene. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO FRENCH, ST. LOUIS ALDERMAN: But the last thing we need is
violence in our neighborhood.
Hey, listen. That`s not going to be on the police to make sure no
violence in our neighborhood. That`s going to be on us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s right.
FRENCH: No silliness over here. All right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Understand this, we know our rights.
FRENCH: You know your rights. I know your rights, brother, too. I`m
going to make sure that this man`s rights were exercised, too, and we`re
going to find out what happened. We`re going to be patient in our
You got people that got your back over here. You ain`t alone like
they are in Ferguson, you hear me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. We`re with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: "You`ve got people who`ve got your back over here. You
aren`t alone like they are in Ferguson."
We`re going to speak with Alderman Antonio French actually in just a
But that reference, this is not Ferguson, you`re not alone here, like
they are in Ferguson, you`ve got people who have your back over here -- it
seems like that was literally a reference to local politics and whether or
not local communities feel represented in their local government or whether
they feel disenfranchised and disconnected from their local government and
local power structures.
Because these two killings of young black men by police in the St.
Louis area, they may have only been four miles and 10 days apart, but one
of them, the one that happened today, happened in the city of St. Louis,
which is geographically very close, but politically very far away from
Ferguson, Missouri -- Ferguson, Missouri, which had a 6 percent black voter
turnout in its last municipal election.
In Ferguson, today, the scenes on the streets have been peaceful, even
in north St. Louis where this new police shooting happened today. The
scenes have been peaceful as well. Even though there have been
demonstrators gathered near the site of the shooting most of the day today.
They`ve been peaceful, at times loud, but not at all rowdy or violent.
Last night, it was in the 10:00 p.m. hour locally in Missouri when
what had been a very peaceful day all day long of protests in Ferguson took
a violent turn last night into what ended up being a long and very scary
night of tear gas and police show of force and fires and two gunshot
At this 2:30 a.m. press conference, early this morning, the police
announced they had made 31 arrests overnight. By this morning, KSDK, the
local NBC affiliate in St. Louis, was reporting actually the total number
of arrestees by their count was 78. Almost all of them, 75 of the 78
arrests were for failure to disperse. Of all the people who were arrested
last night by KSDK`s count, about 2/3 of them were locals from the St.
Louis area or at least from Missouri. The others were far-flung from
places as far away as California and New York.
This morning, Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson was
interviewed by MSNBC`s Craig Melvin and he expressed exasperation about a
couple of different things 10 days into this campaign of protest and upset.
First, he said, the media has not been helpful in some cases. He did
express appreciation for the media being willing to cover what`s going on
in Ferguson, but he said in some cases, the media is not helping and in
fact, making the situation worse on the ground.
He also cautioned that the justice that people are hoping for and
looking for in the Michael Brown case is likely to be a long time in
coming. He worried out loud to Craig Melvin today that Ferguson, as people
wait for justice, that Ferguson just cannot take many more days and nights
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRAIG MELVIN, MSNBC: One of the things you said last night is that
you thought that, perhaps, the media, that journalists, had exacerbated the
problem. What did you mean by that?
CAPT. RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI HIGHWAY PATROL: We had a number of
journalists, not all -- I want to say that now. The journalists have been
on our side. They have been our partners in reporting. You know, I get
home each morning, I look at the news, and I am really grateful to the
media for what they`ve done.
But we have a lot of media that have not done a great job. Last night
when crowds were walking and small groups, and they got large, and they
were just walking. And then when a certain element, that criminal element,
that got out here with mask on, who wanted to agitate and build up the
crowd was stopped in front of the media. The media would swarm around
them, give them a platform and glamorize their activity.
The crowd would stop. Then before we know it, the crowd is 100. Now,
it`s 200. Now, it`s 300. And now, those criminals began to start throwing
things out of the crowd that were standing within the media.
MELVIN: I`ve asked a number of folks and said, what`s it going to
take to stop this? They`ve said, some sort of punishment for the officer.
JOHNSON: And as we know, and I heard just like everyone else from the
court system and the courts and the P.A.`s office, that is going to be --
that`s not going to happen tomorrow. So that`s not going to happen
tomorrow. That -- it may be weeks, it may be months.
We have to bring calm to our community. Our kids cannot stay in their
bed for months and not go to school. Our officers can`t come out here for
months and put their lives in dangers. Peaceful protesters can`t come out
here for months and put their lives in danger. These homeowners can not be
uncomfortable sleeping in their homes wondering if a stray bullet is going
to come in their home.
We have to let our legal system work itself out, and that`s what makes
our country great. And we`ll have to see what the outcome is. We`ve got
to -- we`ve had our voice, and we`ve got to bring calm to this situation.
We`re going to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson speaking
exclusively with MSNBC`s Craig Melvin early today in Ferguson today.
The Ferguson Florissant School District announced that school would be
put off yet again. The first day of school further delayed. Kids were
supposed to have started school in Ferguson Florissant last Thursday.
They`re now not going to start until next week at the earliest, Monday at
Local teachers, the local library, they`re saying they`re frustrating.
They`re doing what they can to offer stuff for kids to do in the meantime,
since the school board decided kids can`t actually two go to school there
Today was a scheduled staff development day for Ferguson Florissant
School District, and they decided to make constructive use of that time.
Everybody from school principals to the custodians who work at those
schools put on orange vests and picked up trash bags today and walked down
West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson picking up bottles and trash and litter
and trying to be constructive after those heavy, heavy protests overnight.
Once again today, the city of Ferguson, its mayor and city council,
they asked again for peaceful protesters to please stop protesting at
nightfall, to only protest during the day. This time, though, they also
released a list of commitments that the city would try to make to address
They described commitments to increase the number of African-American
applicants to the law enforcement academy and to neighboring police forces.
They tried to get -- they said they would try to get dash cameras and
uniform-mounted cameras for local police officers. The city said they`d
engage with young people more, they`d rebuild and enhance the west
Florissant business district.
This list of commitments they`re making, and this is not the first
time the city of Ferguson has asked protesters to stop protesting at night.
But it is the first time, as far as I can tell, that they have coupled that
request with the list of things that they are willing to do as a city to
try to address people`s concerns.
People did march today already in nearby Clayton, Missouri, in
Clayton, Missouri, they marched to the office of the county prosecutor`s
office to ask him to recuse himself from the Michael Brown case.
Protesters and local residents and local public officials have repeatedly
expressed worries that this particular county prosecutor in St. Louis
County cannot be trusted to fairly prosecute a case like this. So far,
that prosecutor has resisted calls to step down. He says tomorrow a grand
jury will start looking into whether or not charges will be brought in the
Michael Brown shooting.
But we`re also learning tonight from the local prosecutor`s office
that the officer implicated in the shooting of Mike Brown, the officer
that`s been named by the police department as one who pulled the trigger in
the Mike Brown shooting, that officer has already been interviewed by
investigators. And that officer will be offered the opportunity to testify
to the county grand jury.
Local legal experts also tell NBC News tonight that the governor of
Missouri, Jay Nixon, does clearly have the power to appoint a special
prosecutor to oversee this case, to essentially force out the county
prosecutor and put a special prosecutor in instead.
Protesters tonight and local officials in Ferguson -- local officials
who represent the Ferguson area are already tonight demanding that the
governor do exactly that, because they say they do not trust the local
county prosecutor to handle this case fairly.
Well, tomorrow, Attorney General Eric Holder is due to arrive in
Ferguson. He`ll be meeting with the local U.S. attorney, that`s the
federal prosecutor, as well as Justice Department prosecutors who are
already on the scene in Ferguson, along with dozens of FBI agents who are
taking part in the independent federal investigation of this matter.
But as the sun goes down tonight, again, in Ferguson, it has been a
peaceful day. It`s been a day that has been peaceful, also, there`s been a
lot of peaceful and constructive and community-building work, like cleaning
up and doing art classes with kids, right?
It`s also been a day of peaceful, nonviolent protests. Like that
protest, that big protest today at the prosecutor`s office demanding that
he step down.
But as the sun goes down on night 10, there are worries about what
tonight`s going to bring. New uncertainties, particularly after that
further shooting today.
Alderman Antonio French, the one who was counseling after this new
shooting today there will be no further silliness in the neighborhoods, no
further violence, because the latest shooting happened in St. Louis proper,
that`s a place where residents could feel like somebody had their backs in
local government. Alderman Antonio French has also spent the last 48 hours
or so arguing online and highlighting online what he says are essentially
out-of-towners, anarchist tourists, people who have been trying to take
advantage of the situation in Ferguson by infiltrating what would otherwise
be peaceful protests and essentially trying to provoke police and trying to
provoke violence, trying to make the situation worse, not better, even
though they are not from this local region.
Alderman French has been arguing that these elements are present after
dark and the protests at Ferguson, he`s been highlighting efforts by local
residents to confront what he says are outside elements. He, himself, has
been arguing against them and that`s extended to his own altercations with
at least some of the folks who he says are come in from out-of-town to try
to keep these fires burning ever hotter night after night.
Joining us now is Antonio French, alderman for the city of St. Louis.
He has been in the thick of things in Ferguson since the shooting 10 days
Alderman French, thanks very much for being with us. I appreciate
your being here tonight.
FRENCH: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: First, let me just ask you about what`s happening right now,
what happened today in Ferguson, and in north St. Louis after the
announcement that there had been another officer-involved fatal shooting?
FRENCH: Yes, so, it`s a tense night. You know, we`re very hopeful
that we`ll keep the peace tonight. We did have an officer-involved
shooting in north St. Louis near my own ward. The alderman there, Chris
Carter, gave me a call and let me know something happened.
We went over there, and it was early in the scene. Crowd started to
form. Some people trying to see what happened, and that crowd quickly grew
and it became a tense moment.
But I was out there, Chris Carter was out there. The chief of police
was out there. The chief did a great job, I thought, at updating the media
as to what happened right on site, then walked over and updated the public
There were some folks angry, but I think people appreciate it that he
was there. And afterwards, as you said, I did speak and let people know
this is not Ferguson. And that in St. Louis City, people do have
representation and we will not treat our folks like the enemy. We`re going
to get a quick investigation to determine what happened.
But we shouldn`t have any violence in our neighborhoods because that
doesn`t solve anything.
MADDOW: Can I ask you to elaborate on that point, when you`re drawing
that contrast between Ferguson and north St. Louis, obviously, these places
are close to each other, geographically a few miles apart.
What is it that you see as the material difference in terms of whether
or not people have a stake in their local government, and they`re
represented locally by folks like you and their local police department?
FRENCH: Yes, I think the situation we find ourselves in today is a
direct result of how the Ferguson police department handled the situation
from day one. Even while the body lay on the ground, they took an
adversarial approach to both the community that came to see what happened,
and even the family, and the mother of Mike Brown. And I think that set
And then, later, even that evening on the first night when they showed
up in large numbers with attack dogs at the memorial service. That angered
people. And then the next day we saw what amounted to a militarization of
the situation and an escalation to the point where they went to war with
their citizens and you still have some young men who every night when they
try to shut this thing down treat it as a warlike environment and fight
And so, that is not the case in St. Louis City. Folks felt like they
didn`t have voice or representation in Ferguson. They do have voice and
representation in St. Louis City.
I represent that area. Chris Carter represents that area. Alderwoman
Dionne Flowers, in fact, was a witness to the crime, witness to what
happened afterwards with the officers.
And so, we have representation here that will make sure that justice
is served. Wherever the evidence takes us, whether the shooting was
justified or turns out it was not justified.
But we need to be patient here in St. Louis City because you do have a
government that is going to be communicating every step of the way.
MADDOW: Antonio French, alderman for the city of St. Louis, and who`s
been doing triple time as essentially a citizen journalist here letting the
world know about the ground-view perspective -- thank you for all you`ve
done thus far to keep us informed. Thanks for being with us tonight.
FRENCH: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right.
Much more from Ferguson ahead. You`re looking at live pictures right
now from downtown Ferguson, Missouri. It`s about 20 minutes past 8:00
right now local time. It`s about 20 minutes past 9:00 on the East Coast.
And as the Alderman said, it`s a tense night not just because it has
been a tense night every night for the last 10 nights, but also because of
this new announcement of another officer-involved shooting just a couple
miles away from where Mike Brown was killed last Saturday.
Stay with us. More live reports from Ferguson, and much more other
news. Stay with us. Straight ahead.
MADDOW: These are live images here from Ferguson, Missouri, where the
sun has set, and clearly people have rejected the latest plea from Ferguson
city officials to please not be out on the street and not be out protesting
after nightfall. They clearly are out for night 10 in that city.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Again, these are further live images right now in the streets
of Ferguson, Missouri. It`s now the tenth day of protests there, which
have made hat that town a focus for the entire country. In just a moment,
we`re going to be speaking with an attorney for the family of Michael
Brown, 18-year-old man who was shot and killed by Ferguson police a week
ago Saturday, that killing that started this whole crisis.
And while this story over the last ten days has evolved to become a
national or even an international story, today, Egypt called for American
restraint against protesters.
Even though this has become a massive story involving now thousands of
people, the story, of course, starts just with the body of that young man,
and with his family losing him. After Mr. Brown was shot, the first thing
that happened immediately after the shooting that upset people so much
locally was the fact that his body was left in the street for hours by
This video was shot in the immediate aftermath of the shooting by a
young woman who lived nearby. Her name is Piaget Crenshaw. And the voice
that you`ll hear in the foreground here is her narrating her own video,
explaining what she`s looking at right after Michael Brown was shot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIAGET CRENSHAW: God bless his soul. Police shot his boy outside my
apartment. They killed him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Police later explained that they left Michael Brown`s body
laying in the street for so long that it was there in the street in the
middle of the day for hours because they wanted to protect the scene of the
shooting, because they said they had to, quote, "practice our due
diligence," with that shooting scene.
But he laid in the street for hours, after he was killed. It has been
10 days since then, and still his family has not had the opportunity to lay
him to rest.
First, it was the county medical examiner doing its official autopsy.
The only information that they`ve released from that autopsy officially was
that Mr. Brown was shot multiple times. They would not even say how many
There was also a leak to "The Washington Post" from two sources who
said they were familiar with that county autopsy -- a leak in which those
sources allege that Michael Brown had marijuana in his system when he was
killed, as if that information was more important to release to the public
than the number of times he was shot.
Because of the family`s distrust of local authorities, they also
arranged for a second autopsy to be done after that first one. So, after
that first officer was done by the county, then a second one was done by
experts brought in by the family.
Those experts did put a number on it. They did say Mr. Brown had been
shot six times. They released that information publicly.
And then this weekend, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that
there would be yet another autopsy, a third one. The federal medical
examiner reportedly completing that work yesterday and as Attorney General
Eric Holder reportedly was briefed on the results of that federal autopsy
today, one day ahead of the attorney general visiting Ferguson. That is
planned for tomorrow.
The death of 18-year-old Michael Brown has become a flashpoint for the
nation. Again, these are live shots from Ferguson right now. But at core,
this is also very simply the death of a young man, and his body remains,
and his family still has the personal work ahead of laying him to rest and
Today, the family announced that Michael Brown`s funeral will be held
on Monday. They know that this will be an important event not just for
their family, but for their community and to a certain extent, for the
nation. The funeral on Monday is going to be open to the public. They`re
now having to seek out a venue large enough to accommodate the expected
turnout of people wanting to pay their respects.
Nobody knows what the consequences will be of the funeral of Michael
Brown. Nobody knows what the consequences will be, for the chain of events
his death in Ferguson has set in motion. But the family finally having a
answer to bury him is a reminder for all this means to all these people,
there is nobody who it can possibly matter to more than it matters to his
Joining us now is Anthony Gray. He`s an attorney for Michael Brown`s
Mr. Gray, thank you for being with us tonight.
ANTHONY GRAY, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL BROWN`S FAMILY: Thank you for
having me, Rachel. It`s my pleasure.
MADDOW: Mr. Brown`s family has been set for Monday. It will be a
service that the public is allowed to attend. Can you share any -- share
with us any of the plans for the public service? Any of the family`s
thoughts into what they want to happen at that event?
GRAY: Well, we know what they want to happen is that they want to
have a dignified home going for their child, Michael Brown Jr.
As far as the itinerary, who`s going to speak and those things, that
information has not been finalized. I`m not privy to it. So, I don`t feel
comfortable disclosing that. They definitely want to have a dignified
service for their child.
MADDOW: Today, I have to ask you about the potential prosecution in
this case, the county prosecuting attorney has been refusing calls from the
community to recuse himself to allow special prosecutor to take on the
The prosecutor`s office did say today that the officer involved in the
shooting has met with investigators. He`ll be offered the opportunity to
speak with the grand jury. So far, though, the governor`s ability to
replace that county prosecutor with a special prosecutor, the governor has
rejected those calls. But those calls seem to be getting louder from the
What are your thoughts on that? What are the family`s thoughts on
that at this point?
GRAY: Well, the family`s thoughts are from the very beginning when
they saw how this information was being played out within minutes after the
shooting, they began to lose their faith and confidence in the local county
officials. I don`t think that has ever changed. In fact, I think some of
the events in the aftermath of that has worsened that feeling.
And so, I believe that they will support an independent or special
prosecutor in this case. They actually are joining the voices of those
that are asking for a special prosecutor, and I think they will be
satisfied if that move is made.
MADDOW: Has the family been kept in the loop and communicated with
adequately and in a compassionate way as this investigation has gone
forward? We know the grand jury meeting tomorrow will be considering
evidence in this case. Again, we know that the officer has spoken with
We know that there`s this political negotiating going on, or at least
political calls going on around who is going to be the prosecutor in this
Does the family feel like they have been adequately informed and kept
apprised of what`s happening all along?
GRAY: No, they haven`t. No. They do not feel that way because
that`s not the case. In fact, there has been no effort, to my knowledge,
for any of the individuals from the prosecutor`s office, from the police
department, other than Captain Ron Johnson reaching out to the family
pretty much breaking ranks and embracing --
MADDOW: Unfortunately, I have to jump in here because we have lost
the audio from Anthony Gray, attorney of the family of Michael Brown.
Mr. Gray, if you can still hear me, I`m sorry we lost your audio. It
dropped out completely there. We`ll try to get you back. Thank you very
much for being with us tonight, sir.
I have to say, on the left side of your screen there, what you are
seeing is police vehicles out on the streets in Ferguson, Missouri, right
now. It`s about 8:30 local time. I can`t say whether or not these are
equivalent numbers or if this is an equivalent mood to what we are seeing
this time last night.
It`s been a big day of developments in this case, including another
officer-involved shooting a few miles away from the site of the shooting of
Michael Brown. We`ll be keeping an eye on these live shots, and we`ve got
further news ahead.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, the on-the-ground reporting from Ferguson, Missouri, over
the last 10 days has occasionally been jaw-dropping -- reporters so close
to what`s happening that audiences get what might be an unprecedented feel
for a major news event happening in real-time. Conflict between law
enforcement and the American public, consumable live, instantly on a
television or on a computer or on streaming video from cell phone.
The tons of visual material from that city streets has been shaping
the country`s understanding of what is happening in this news story in a
very, very direct way. But there is one way in which the events in
Ferguson are not being covered, because they can`t, because the police say
they can`t. And that is also changing way that people are able to
understand the evens there, and that story is next.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: When we learned today that there`d been another officer-
involved shooting not in Ferguson but four miles away over the line into
nearby north St. Louis, there`s one thing about how we learned about that
that was just visually 180 degrees different than what we have been seeing
in Ferguson. This is where that shooting happened. And this is a scene of
where it happened right after it happened.
And it is a view of that scene from overhead, shot by a news
helicopter, and the shot got wider and you could se exactly in what
context, what kind of neighborhood this happened in, how big the response
was relative to the neighborhood. How many vehicles were on scene, how
many people were on scene, whether people were still arriving there after
the shooting or whether they were leaving from there.
An aerial view like this helps you get your head around what can
otherwise be a confusing or hard to quantity thing that you are looking at,
right? It helps you know what you`re looking at. It helps you understand
We have not had the benefit of that kind of perspective in Ferguson.
Literally, we have not had that kind of overhead visual perspective on
Ferguson since the protests there got intense and turned into a national
story. Early in this crisis, the St. Louis County police department got a
flight ban put in place for Ferguson. They asked the FAA to put a no-fly
zone into effect over downtown Ferguson after they said that a police
helicopter got shot at during an early protest.
The request to the Missouri governor, that flight ban over Ferguson
was renewed yesterday in order to, quote, "provide a safe environment for
law enforcement activities."
So, law enforcement can fly helicopters over Ferguson to monitor
protests and to help with policing, but the media cannot fly helicopters
over Ferguson in order to monitor policing and film the protests.
And this is not to question law enforcement`s stated need for a flight
ban. Over the course of the last 10 nights, almost every night police have
said there were reports of shots fired. Police have said over and over
again that gunfire has been part of this experience, especially late at
night in this town.
Tonight, Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson said that police
received calls of shooters on top of buildings in downtown Ferguson. Last
night, at what appeared to be some of the most difficult clashes so far,
police reportedly arrested 78 people and in the course of the night, they
say they confiscated two handguns and at least one Molotov cocktail which
they showed off to reporters at about 2:30 in the morning as a way of
trying to convince reporters that police directions to the media really
were about keeping reporters safe and not just about suppressing the
reporting of the news.
Police say that they have been shot at. They say that their
helicopters have been shot at. They say that is why it would be unsafe for
media helicopters to be up there. That is their stated reason why news
organizations can`t fly over the scene to report from that helpful wide-
view perspective. It`s not a crazy argument.
But that said, the no-fly-zone decision which was just renewed
yesterday has been really consequential for the country in terms of trying
to understand what`s going on there, especially where the police response
is intrinsically part of the story. I mean, look at this. When you see
these images on the ground, the situation obviously looks very chaotic. It
is chaotic. This is from overnight images from last night in Ferguson,
along one stretch of a major street, just one stretch.
And we watched these images as they were coming in live just after
midnight here in New York.
And from what we could see, and from what reporters on the ground
described to us from their individual vantage points, it appeared that
people were running from a police response. They were being pushed by that
police response up the street, toward another line of police that was
pushing them back into the opposite direction. From the best we could
tell, with cameras and eyes at ground level, it appeared that these
protesters were caught or at least they may have been caught between police
lines and basically an impossible position.
And it was hard to know for sure, but that`s a really important part
of the story. That we honestly cannot witness from the perspectives that
we are allowed and we thereby cannot communicate to you at home trying to
be an educated news consumer about this story. We cannot communicate an
important part of what police are doing on the streets of this town. We
can see what`s directly in front of our ground level vantage points, but it
has been impossible to tell how scenes like this related to, say, the
That kind of perspective is why news organizations use helicopters in
the first place, without after view from high up. In a circumstance like
this, it`s hard to get beyond the running moment-to-moment experiential
And frankly, that is not enough to accurately and objectively report
on the rationality and reasonableness and the effectiveness of police
tactics and protesters` tactics. It`s hard to tell what`s happening when
you can only see it from five feet off the ground.
And part of the reason we cannot tell what`s happening from a better
vantage point, the media just literally cannot show it. Physically, the
media is not being allowed to show what we need to be able to show in order
to characterize this in a way that is objective and makes the most sense.
Joining us now is Patricia Bynes. She`s a Democratic committeewoman
of Ferguson Township in the city of Ferguson.
Ms. Bynes, thank you very much for being with us tonight. I
appreciate your time tonight.
PATRICIA BYNES, FERGUSON DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEEWOMAN: Thank you for
having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, can you tell us from your perspective where you think the
community is and where the police are tonight in terms of the trajectory of
these protests? How long they`re going to go on, what the demands are,
what the protests are likely to be like from here on out?
BYNES: Well, let`s see, we have some good news coming up with the
attorney general coming into town tomorrow. And also I know that we`re
looking -- Bob McCulloch, the prosecutor, is moving forward with a grand
So, people are seeing some movement which is the main thing people
have been wanting to see out here is the fact that they want this case
taken seriously. So, I think that that has helped quell some anger about
what`s going on. They want to make sure that there is justice for him and
his family and this community.
So, I don`t know how long this is going to take. I don`t know how
long people are going to protest because this also is just not about mike
Brown. This is about police brutality. This is about racism. This is
about racial profiling. And this is about a community that`s trying to
find its voice.
So, that doesn`t have a specific timeframe, but I`m thinking as things
move forward in the investigation, and in pursuing this case, people will
probably start changing some of their strategies in protesting and maybe
start having more meetings, town halls.
I know there are lots of things scheduled. That`s where I think very
soon we`ll start seeing this transition.
MADDOW: Very interesting point.
To that point, the mayor and city council in Ferguson today put out a
statement, once again, asking people not to protest after dark. Obviously
that instruction is not being heeded by people out on the street. We can
see there tonight.
But they also listed a series of commitments that the city was
considering in terms of trying to address people`s concerns, everything
from trying to get a more diverse police force, to trying to get dash cams
and uniform cams on those police, trying to engage more with young people
in the city.
MADDOW: I saw that happen today. And in print it seemed like
something -- haven`t heard a single person reference it all day, nor does
anybody seem to be treating it as an important development in the story.
Is the city government just not being treated -- not being seen as
relevant to this case now?
BYNES: Well, because of the regionalism in St. Louis county, Ferguson
is just a small municipality overall in the St. Louis region. So, yes,
they should be commended for working on things, but this is just not a
Ferguson issue, and people -- we see ideas. We want to see execution as
So, we should be having the dialogue. We should be throwing out
ideas. This is not just limited to Ferguson. This is a regional issue,
and it`s going to take regional leaders to come forward and not just have
more good ideas, but start moving things forward in this area.
MADDOW: Patricia Bynes, Democratic committeewoman in the city of
Ferguson. Thank you very much for getting out there and talking with us.
I appreciate your time. Thank you.
Again, on the left side of your screen here, these are live shots from
downtown Ferguson. You see a large police presence right now. At this
point, we`re not look at officers in SWAT-type gear, but we have seen
tactical-style vehicles out there.
There`s plenty of people out on the street tonight. This is night 10
of protests in Ferguson. There was another officer-involved shooting in
nearby north St. Louis today.
We`ll keep you apprised. Stay right here.
MADDOW: As you can see in these live images, protesters are on the
move tonight in downtown Ferguson, Missouri. These are live images. In
this crowd, we have seen some protesters wearing gas masks tonight. There
is another large police presence in evidence in downtown Ferguson right
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: In November 2012, on Thanksgiving Day in 2012, an American
photojournalist working in the Middle East went missing.
James Foley had covered war zones across the Middle East for the news
agency, Agence France-Presse, and for the news Web site "Global Post".
But in 2012, while covering the raging civil war in Syria, he was
kidnapped. At the time, there were other instances of Syrian rebels
operating in the region abducting foreign journalists for ransom money.
But when James Foley was kidnapped, it was radio silence from his captors.
A full year after his abduction, James Foley`s father told "Agence France-
Presse", we haven`t been contacted by anybody asking for anything. No
The Foley family created a Web site asking for help finding their son,
appealing for any information.
But this American photojournalist, James Foley, he had been missing
for more than 600 days when today his image appeared on a video connected
to the terrorist group ISIS. The video is far too graphic to show here.
Nobody needs to see it for any reason.
But it includes what appears to be the gruesome beheading of James
Foley and it describes his murder for payback essentially for recent U.S.
military operations against ISIS in Iraq.
Tonight, the White House put out a statement saying they were still
working to confirm the authenticity of the tape, but it says, quote, "If
genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American
journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and
The videotaped execution of a Western hostage is a tactic. It is a
tactic that`s been used a number of times over the last decade. It is
intended to have a specific desired terroristic effect. In 2002, a "Wall
Street Journal" reporter named Daniel Pearl was kidnapped in Pakistan. Mr.
Pearl was later executed by his captors on camera with the threat that more
abductions and beheadings of Westerners would follow.
Two years later in 2004, an American businessman from Philadelphia
named Nicholas Berg was captured in the war in Iraq. Nick Berg, like
Daniel Pearl, was later executed by his captors on camera, again, with the
threat that more abductions and beheadings would follow.
This is a tactic. It is murder and propaganda.
In the video that was released today, the men who killed James Foley
showed and named the next hostage they say they intend to execute, another
American freelance journalist who had been reporting in the Middle East for
"Time" magazine. This is a tactic, but this is also very much the grim
reality right now for the family of American journalist James Foley and for
the very concerned family of the other journalist who has been threatened.
Just a short time ago, Mr. Foley`s parents released a statement that
says in part, quote, "We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave
his life trying to expose the world to the sufferings of the Syrian people.
We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. We
thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son,
brother, journalist and person."
James Foley was from Rochester, New Hampshire. He was a graduate of
the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He was 40
MADDOW: We do have late breaking news tonight regarding the police
shooting of Michael Brown 10 days ago in Ferguson, Missouri. Many
protesters and residents and local leaders have said they believe the St.
Louis County prosecutor should recuse himself from this case because they
don`t trust that prosecutor to be able to handle the case fairly.
Well, tonight on the eve of the county grand jury starting to consider
evidence in this case, Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri has now put out a
statement saying he will not ask the county prosecutor to recuse himself.
The statement effectively says if the county prosecutor ought to be recused
from the case, he should do it himself.
The governor`s statement says, quote, "There`s a well established
process by which a prosecutor can recuse themselves from a pending
investigation, and a special prosecutor be appointed. Departing from this
established process could unnecessarily inject legal uncertainty into this
matter and potentially jeopardize the prosecution."
Again, that statement tonight from Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri,
appearing to indicate that he will not ask the county prosecutor to step
down and be replaced with a special prosecutor, as has been demanded
We`re going to be keeping an eye on the situation in Ferguson
throughout the night tonight. Keep it here on MSNBC.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL."
Good evening, Lawrence.
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